Saturday, February 13, 2021

Installing a Garmin DST810

 Garmin DST810 Depth, Speed and water Temperature Transducer.

When our Garmin DST800 Depth, Speed and Water Temperature Transducer failed last month, I made the decision to replace it with a DST180 Transducer.

The new model has improved electronics and additional features. We do not have the electronics to use the additional features, but if we had to upgrade other equipment on the boat, those additional features might be useful. Of course, this assume that the new Transducer lasts longer than the previous 2 in less than 5 years.

Ok, so the installation consists of 3 parts. Sourcing the new Transducer, Installing it and Testing.

Sourcing the DST810 Transducer

Garmin (Airmar) DST801 Transducer Kit
    After extensive search web wide, I found that the best deal was actually from Garmin. The Transducer is an Airmar DST810 but is branded by many of the Marine Technology companies. West Marine does not have it on their website at present (February 2021) and West Marine does not provide Extended Warrantees on Transducers ( Somehow I was able to purchase a 2 year extension from West Marine when I purchased the previous replacement in 2019.)  So the only benefit from the various companies selling the Transducer would be their shipping charges and price. Garmin came out on top. I was able to verify that the DST810 was available to fit in the same thru-hull as was installed for the removed DST800. The DST800 was a standard length Transducer, but it was available in a Short version, so I asked Airmar to confirm the Part number of the suitable DST810 Transducer.

The new Transducer arrived on time from Garmin.

Installing Garmin DST810 Transducer.

    Because we had a DST800 Transducer installed, installing the DST810 Transducer should be easy.
  • Connect the Transducer to the NMEA 2000 network and verify that the display shows Speed when the paddle wheel of the transducer is spun.
  • With the transducer connected, establish a blue tooth connection to the Transponder from a Table or Smart Phone.
  • Now that we know the transducer is working, disconnect it and route the transducer wiring into the boats looms.
  • Before inserting the Transducer into the Thru Hull, it has to be painted with Bottom Paint and the O-rings have to be lubricated with the lubricant supplied with the Kit.
  • Finally insert the Transducer into the Thru hull. Note. The thru hull is currently occupied by the Dummy Plug to keep the water out of the boat. So the 'insert' function has to be done pretty quickly, water pours in at somewhere around 1+ Gallons per second. Remove the 'Plug' that currently fills the Transducer thru hull and quickly insert the new Transducer. Before screwing down the securing ring of the Transducer, make sure that the Arrow on the top is facing forwards towards the Bow. Tighten down on the securing ring and use the locking wire to lock the securing ring from unscrewing by threading the wire between the hole in the top of the securing ring and the hold in the ring of the Thurhull.
  • All of that went without a hitch. Plus I completed the wiring run using tywraps and tywrap wall ties to keep the run neat and tidy. I left enough slack where the Drop attaches to the NEMA 2000 Backbone to facilitate moving the hub of the backbone when I upgrade the DC Electrical Control Panel later next month.

Testing Garmin DST810 Transducer

    The pre-installation testing only tests the Speed and Bluetooth functions. Once installed we need to test the speed through the water, Depth and Water Temperature.
    Depth is pretty easy. With the boat electronics energized, the current depth at the dock should be displayed on the Chart Plotter.
    Water Temperature. This is Florida, the water temperature is an easy one to test, we'll just put a thermometer into the water near the Transducer and compare that to the temperature indicated on the Chartplotter.
    Speed - we need to be moving through the water. We can compare it to our GPS speed, but this requires that we are moving - time for a trip in the boat. We did a spin test of the Transducer before putting it into the Thru-Hull. 

Blue Tooth functions

    To be honest, I really didn't know which data will be available via Blue Tooth, but we already use our Blue tooth enabled phones and tablets to utilize the data from our Victron System (Solar Regulator and Battery Sensor). So this is going to be interesting. The Blue Tooth data is access via the Airmar Cast App.
    Well that worked out pretty well. With the Transducer already identified via Blue Tooth during the pre-install testing, we knew that we should be able to connect with it installed.
With the Install complete, we flashed up the Garmin GPS Chartplotter and confirmed that we were getting water temperature and depth. Using the Airmar CAST App on my phone we started the calibration setup.

    Installation complete, testing complete (except for Speed Calibration) all wiring secured and I'm ready to sign off on this project. Over the next few weeks we'll check the speed calibration.

See you on the water - Soon !!! (Working on the new cabin cushions, the refinishing of the companionway hatch-boards.

Stay safe folks.